New dispute resolution process for workers compensation
The NSW Government today announced plans to reform the workers compensation dispute resolution system following an extensive review.
Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello said the proposed reforms will improve the experience of injured workers by improving support services, simplifying claim processes and removing duplication.
“A Government review found that there are a number of ways in which we can improve the claims process for injured workers by enabling faster resolution of disputes,” Mr Dominello said.
“We are committed to building a sustainable system that is more user friendly and better supports claimants in their return to work and good health. The proposed changes are supported by a broad cross section of stakeholders and will deliver a one-stop shop for resolving disputes.”
The proposed reforms include:
- All enquiries and complaints from injured workers that are not resolved with their insurer in the first instance will be directed to the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO) for assistance;
- All enquiries and complaints from employers and other system participants will be referred to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA); and
- The Workers Compensation Commission (WCC) will undertake all dispute resolution once an internal review is completed by an insurer, removing these functions from SIRA and WIRO.
WIRO will continue to administer the Independent Legal Aid and Review Service (ILARS), providing legal support to injured workers. The reforms follow a review undertaken in response to recommendations of the Legislative Council Standing Committee on Law and Justice.
The review involved extensive consultation with stakeholders, injured workers and representatives from icare, SIRA, WIRO and the WCC. Some of the reforms are subject to legislation expected to be introduced later this year. Further information is available at www.finance.nsw.gov.au